Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

November 7, 2019
Erda residents oppose new plan for property south of Excelsior Academy

Resident calls PUD-CUP a ‘sneaky way’ to get around rezone of land 

Erda residents oppose a pair of development projects — again.

The Tooele County Planning Commission held public hearings on planned unit development-conditional use permits for property on Erda Way south of Excelsior Academy during its meeting Wednesday night at the Tooele County Building.

After hearing public testimony the planning commission approved motions to table a vote on the requests until its next meeting in two weeks.

All of the speakers during the public hearing opposed both PUD-CUPs.

One PUD-CUP is for 44 acres immediately south of Excelsior Academy. Applicant Joe White wants to put 74 single-family homes on lots of varying sizes. A perimeter trail system will be part of the development along with a trail to run alongside commercial property parallel to state Route 36.

The second proposed PUD-CUP is for 156 acres adjacent and to the south of White’s development. The applicant is Matt Donaldson. 

Donaldson wants to put 227 residential units on the property. At the west end of the property, he proposes three large open space lots. He wants to put 100 units for senior citizens in multi-unit structures, four units to a structure. On the south end of the property, Donaldson proposes three large agricultural preservation parcels with 100 senior citizen residential units for senior citizens in townhome style multi-unit structures with four units per structure to the east of the preservation parcels.

At the south end of the property, plans show lots of approximately one acre in size as a buffer with adjacent 5-acre parcels.

The property where both proposed PUD-CUPs sit is currently zoned RR-5.

Ken Webb, Erda, told the planning commission that leaving the area as 5-acre lots was just fine with him.

“In the eyes and ears of many citizens of Erda, a CUP is a sneaky way to get around a rezone and referendums,” Webb said. “The reason we have to deal with water and sewer systems here is that these proposals are for lots smaller than five acres. … Septic tanks and water are available in Tooele County for 5-acre lots. If they were 5-acre lots it would be OK. … Five-acre lots are also a good thing for the county because they don’t require a lot of services.”

Allison Kipp was concerned with water and crowded schools.

“This is spot zoning and shouldn’t be allowed,” she said. “I know you don’t want to hear it, but the general plan says there is a lack of water in Erda. Schools are already overcrowded and this would burden them.”

Susan Christensen expressed concerns about traffic.

“We don’t want it to be so congested,” she said. “The traffic is horrible. There are two schools there. Traffic is heavy. There are wrecks all the time. Where is the concern for safety?”

Jeff Rydalch also opposed the higher density housing.

“This looks like another Joe White attempt to put high density housing in Erda,” he said. “People have already spoken on this and it sneaks in through a backdoor. I am strongly against any rezone in Erda down from RR-5.”

The Tooele County Commission approved a rezone request for both of these properties during its Oct. 16, 2018, meeting at the request of White.

The rezones were then the subject of referendum petitions seeking a vote by the public on the rezone requests.

The County Commission repealed the rezones during a 1 p.m. meeting on Dec. 27 at the Tooele County Building.

At the time of the repeal, Tooele County Clerk Marilyn Gillette was in the process of validating the signatures on the petition to see if they reached the threshold required to put the ordinances on a ballot.

The Tooele County Attorney and Lieutenant Governor’s office advised Gillette to stop validating signatures as the repeal of the rezone made the rezone issue mute.

Following the public hearing on Wednesday night, the planning commission voted to table a vote on both PUD-CUP requests. 

“We need time to consider what we have heard tonight,” said Scott Jacobs, planning commission chairman.


Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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